April 15, 2014

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE testing for dry cleaning chemicals found in West Wichita groundwater

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has identified groundwater contaminated by tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a volatile organic chemical (VOC) commonly used in dry cleaning, in an area to the south and southeast of the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners near W. Central and N. Tyler in Wichita. This contamination has the potential to impact private drinking water wells in the area. A map showing the latest testing results in the affected area can be viewed here. These initial testing results will be updated as further testing results become available.

KDHE first identified PCE levels below the Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) set by the EPA during a separate site investigation located at 7920 W. Kellogg in late 2009. In March 2014, the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners site was identified as the source of PCE contamination above the level set out by the EPA and KDHE began to notify residents with private drinking water wells in the area. KDHE recommends that residents with private drinking water wells in the area of concern contact the KDHE Dry Cleaning program at 785-296-1914 to have their well water tested free of charge.

Prolonged exposure to PCE is associated with elevated risks of certain types of cancer and other health problems. As with all health effects, the potential for an increased risk associated with PCE depends on several factors including how much exposure there is, how often exposure occurs and how long it lasts.

KDHE has calculated site-specific contamination levels for safe drinking water, taking into account the type of chemical and other factors. Residents with well water above these levels are either being connected to existing water mains or temporarily provided a point-of-entry carbon filtration system if a water main is not available on their street. Residents with tap water contamination below the KDHE determined level, but above the EPA determined level are receiving bottled water until a permanent alternative drinking water supply such as connection to a city water supply is made available. KDHE is working with the City of Wichita to quickly connect homes in the area of concern to the City of Wichita public water supply system. If water mains are not available, the KDHE Dry Cleaner’s Trust Fund will fund the installation of new water mains, as needed.